How Good Design Can Increase Sales

Avex Designs
  • Date Published
  • Categories Blog
  • Reading Time 15-Minute Read

There’s a lot of emphasis placed upon website design in the marketing world. For brick and mortar retailers, e-commerce stores, news curators, et. al.—the point remains the same: a well-designed website delivers on 4 big business initiatives:

  1. Attention
  2. Authority
  3. Appreciation
  4. And $ales

And I’m sure I don’t need to tell you (but I will anyway) but the first three all feed into the fourth and most important of these goals.

The stated aim of any business is to make a profit. To do that you need to get eyes on your product or service, become a recognized authoritative voice in your chosen industry, deliver results that delight users, and convert them into loyal customers.

Today, we’ll be discussing the evidence supporting the argument for top notch design, as well as the methods to achieve design supremacy in all of your online spaces.

Well Designed Websites DO Get More Sales

How much of a difference does design really make in your online business ventures? Quite a bit as the data will tell you. Here are a few factoids that should let you know just how impactful a decent designer can be:

The data is extremely clear. Design matters. Not just the shiny veneer of your site, but the underlying functionality as well. Search boxes are a perfect example of a failure in site infrastructure. According to a 2014 study performed by the Baynard Institute, the state of site search is in dismal shape. 16% of e-commerce sites don’t provide useful results when searching for a product by name or model number, even though those specifics appear on the product page.

Imagine if Google only allowed you to look up content by extremely specific jargon that was unthoughtfully determined. You’d never be able to find anything! Unfortunately, many online retailers don’t treat their onsite search functions with any serious consideration.

But on-page functionality and user delight aren’t the only areas where design really matters. The fact is, design can actually get more attention on your web presence as well.

Good Design Garners More Organic Traffic

User first should always be a priority when thinking about design. Luckily, the fine folks at Google are working tirelessly to improve their algorithms and make them more human-like in their evaluation of site quality. This means by designing things to be attractive and functional, you can please your audience and improve your SEO ranking.

The big takeaway here is to always aim to delight your users and you’ll end up keeping the search engine overlords happy as well. But always keep basic SEO techniques in your mind while developing your site’s architecture and content too. Just don’t try to game the system. Black hat SEO is already prolific enough without your help.

Good Design Indicates Credibility

Which are you more likely to trust webpage A, or webpage B?

Turkish airlines webpage 1

Turkish airlines website 2

Image Credits: Turkish Airlines

If you chose option B, perhaps you can understand why Turkish Airlines decided to redesign their website. In option A, their content is too busy, their color scheme is kind of awkward, and the patterned background is something out of 1995.

Now compare option B. A high-quality image of a starry night sky is soothing and compelling. You have a simplified flight finder front and center. The Typography is more relaxed and interesting. Overall the aesthetics of the redesign are much more appealing.

This is important because most users form an initial impression of a webpage within .05 seconds of seeing it load. That’s why it’s important to use good design to grab user attention and immediately establish yourself as a trustworthy entity.

How is this accomplished? Here are a few guidelines:

  • Minimalism

Minimalism is the prevailing trend in professional web design these days. It promotes an uncluttered, easily navigable, and intuitive aesthetic. Further, according to research performed by the Nielsen Norman Group, minimalist styles such as Flat design connote a higher quality to young professionals.

  • Negative Space

Sometimes it’s what’s left unsaid that creates the biggest impression. Using negative space you can indicate what’s most important by isolating it. This is how you draw attention to your most important content. Additionally, it helps create a sense of hierarchy on the page, which in turn helps users to recognize your site as an authoritative source of information because there’s clearly some thought behind your design.

  • Animation, Visual Feedback, and Other Trends

Conforming your web presence to the latest trends in design tells users that you’re at a certain level of knowledge and experience in the digital world. While trends are shifting constantly, showing an affinity for what’s hot right now can put you over with your audience. Animated responses to mouse hovers, parallax scrolling, ghost buttons, and other things of that nature will indicate to users where to go and how to find the content they want. This, in turn, lets them know that you know exactly what they need, thereby increasing your credibility.

One other important factor in site credibility is a responsive design. With the rise of mobile browsing, having a mobile optimized site has become absolutely essential to establishing authority with your audience. Not only that, but it also helps with search rankings and UX as well.

Responsive Mobile Design Sales Statistics

Responsive mobile design graph
Image Credit: 

Much has been made of the mobile revolution in recent years. As such, the data collected on responsive design and e-commerce sales is undeniable.

The value in mobile design optimization is plain to see. But how can you leverage the advent of mobile commerce to increase your bottom line? Here are a few more guidelines:

  • Proper Use of Screen Real Estate

Spaces are limited on mobile screens. You have to cut out anything superfluous and focus on what’s important to your users. This may take some testing to get exactly right, but in general, you need to prioritize navigation, content, and the entry point to your sales funnel.

  • Remember to Keep Speed High

You want to keep your site weight as low as possible. That means cutting down on the animations and high-quality imagery. There are techniques to do this such as loading images through CSS, lazy loading, or the height and width attributes.

  • Keep Navigation Nearby and Obvious

If you can avoid making your users scroll too much to find their menu options, you should always do so. A lot of people hate the Hamburger menu, but this is one easy solution to always keep your navigation options nearby.

There are many many more guidelines to designing a proper responsive site, but we’ve got more ground to cover yet. If you’re interested in learning more about RWD, I suggest you take a look at the book by Ethan Marcotte (the man that coined the term), Responsive Web Design.

For now, we need to discuss the nitty gritty of good design for sales and that starts with sales funnel optimization.

Sales Funnel Optimization

First off this phrase is a bit of a misnomer. You might think you’re optimizing your sales funnel in isolation, but you should really view this as a holistic approach. We’ve covered a lot of ground in this article (and we’ll cover quite a bit more before we’re through), the reason being that there’s a lot to consider when optimizing for sales. Specifically, it’s all about how your brand interacts with its customers from start to finish.

It’s not just about the checkout process. It’s about gaining attention, getting users to interact with your content, offering them value, requesting their compliance and offering mutual benefit for their conversion. Then you’ve got to follow up, show gratitude and try to increase the Lifetime Value (LTV) of each customer.


It begins with getting them in the door though. And that’s a matter of advertising. There are all sorts of directions we could take this conversation, but since this is an article that’s focused on design, we won’t cover too much in the way of lead acquisition.

Rather, just note that it’s important to keep the aesthetics of all your advertisements and marketing efforts consistent. Don’t switch your logo up from email to landing page to home page.  Get a single, stylish look and keep with it. Inconsistency breeds contempt. Familiarity, despite what you may have heard, is a good thing. So wherever your leads originate from:

  • Email
  • Social media
  • PPC ads
  • Organic search

They should all match in tone and aesthetic. Build your brand authority and recognition through consistency.


Once you’ve got them through the door, it’s time for the ol’ razzle dazzle. You’ve got to knock their socks off with a gorgeous design that sends them straight to the checkout page. This is primarily accomplished with landing or product pages.

There is an art and science to creating effective landing and product pages. For the former, in general, you want:

  • High-quality copy throughout
  • An attention grabbing headline
  • A subheading which briefly but effectively describes consumer benefits
  • Intriguing imagery
  • An effective call to action
  • A signup/purchase/etc. form

The text on a landing page is paramount. If you can spin a sentence or two take a crack at it, but don’t be afraid to open up the pocketbook and hire an effective copywriter to craft some high converting text.

The imagery you show, should be related to the text and the offer. It should display the benefit of the product or service you’re advertising and increase user interest.

The call to action needs to be clear, concise, highly visible (think big red button) and easily accomplished. Don’t make it difficult to find or act. Now is not the time to introduce user friction into the equation.

Speaking of friction, your form should be short. Don’t ask for every detail of your user’s life. If at all possible, skip the form even. Making the user do any more work than necessary is going to shave points off of your conversion rate. Less is more here.

For product pages be sure to include:

  • High-Quality Imagery of the Product

Pictures are important in product pages, you want your customers to know exactly what it looks like and an idea of its size and weight. Use hover to zoom, 360-degree views, or even video tutorials on the page to illustrate the product’s dimensions.

  • Detailed Descriptions

Supplement the visuals with compelling and comprehensive text. Focus on benefits first and then describe features. Above all be honest and positive when describing the product’s attributes. Never over-promise and under-deliver.

  • Customer Ratings/Reviews

Social proof is a powerful weapon. Seeing that other customers have rated a product highly is worth a lot more than anything you can show or say about it yourself.

  • Trust Signals

Trust signals include SSL bars, credit card logos, money back guarantees, and transparent shipping/return policies. Including these on the page can go a long way in earning customer loyalty.

  • Related or Recommended Products

Never miss the opportunity to upsell. If they’re thinking of buying one product, you might as well put it in their heads to purchase another.


Much of the same advice that applies to the product page can be applied to checkout. Upselling, trust signals, ratings, and reviews could all be included here as well. Although, I wouldn’t recommend implementing them on both as that can be redundant and distracting.

The main thing to remember about checkout pages, however, is that they need to be easy. It should be a breeze for customers to fill out the credit card forms. Always allow for guest checkouts, and ask for account creation after the purchase is made, not before. And cache any information they give you for future use whether they start an account or not.

A few more items that can be included for lower cart abandonment at the finish line are:

  • Progress bars to show how many steps are left in the checkout process.
  • Basket icon with the number of items shown.
  • Save cart to wishlist button.
  • Minimalist checkout page to avoid distraction.
  • Free shipping.
  • Give the option to continue shopping after purchase.
  • ALWAYS include the terms for shipping, returns, and assurances of privacy/security.

And that’s about it. There’s clearly a lot more we could go into, but these are the basics of proper checkout page design. If you’d like to learn more about checkout optimization, here are a few resources for you to look over:

  1. Moz
  2. Shopify
  3. Lemonstand

Miscellaneous Design Tips

Before we finish up, there are a few more guidelines that I feel at least must be mentioned in passing.

  • Keep It Intuitive with Hierarchies

Hierarchical structures within websites are important. They allow users to see and understand the primary purposes of each on-page element. Just like this article is separated into headings and body text, so you know what you’ll be reading about before you start skimming each paragraph.

It’s also why the primary points in this article are separated into bulleted lists. This breaks up the visual monotony of the page and increases its scanability. Because honestly, who wants to read every last thought that comes out of my demented head?

  • Appropriate Typography

Text should always match tone. If you want anyone to take your product or services seriously, you have to avoid Comic Sans. For whatever reason, the human brain interprets font face on an emotional level, so certain fonts feel specific and subjective ways. Fortunately, most human beings feel the same way about the text they read. Here’s a handy guide for matching the tone you’re looking for with the type of typography which correctly connotes it.

  • Color Psychology

Color has an incredible effect on human emotions. Red will energize while blue will harmonize. Almost without exception, certain colors can connect with people on a subconscious level and elicit the same emotions within individuals across vastly varying demographics. Make sure that your color scheme matches your brand’s persona.

  • Habit Formation

When designing a website, you want to make it as addictive as possible to interact with. That means including four primary elements.

  1. The trigger
  2. The action
  3. The reward
  4. The investment

This is Nir Ayal’s “Hook” model, and it works. You cue your users up with a trigger that obligates them to perform an action in order to receive a reward. Once they’ve received the reward, they’re more likely to invest time or some other resource in order to start the loop over again. The science of habit formation is a fascinating study, and I highly recommend you check out Nir’s book: Hooked to learn more.


So in sum, what have we learned today? Basically that there’s a lot more to learn about designing for sales success. But more specifically, we’ve learned that proper design can indeed increase sales. Furthermore, we’ve learned that it works on multiple levels:

  • Sales
  • Attention
  • Authority
  • Appreciation

We’ve also collected a ton of awesome resources where we can learn more about different ecommerce design disciplines to start implementing these practices into our own websites. Of course, if you’re feeling a little lazy you can always drop us a line here at Avex Designs.

But surely there’s something else we’ve missed. What other important design tips and tricks do you fine readers keep up your sleeve? Let us hear your success stories in the comments.